Question: I am an imam. A man from jama’at said to me, “Though people say ‘Amin’ out loud at such a holy place as the Ka’ba and there is even a hadith-i sharif prescribing it, why do people say ‘Amin’ quietly in Turkey?” I answered, “Saying it out loud is makruh in the Hanafi Madhhab. The antithetic acts of Wahhabis cannot be exemplary to us.” Is there a hadith-i sharif prescribing loud utterance of it?
Similarly, it is stated in a hadith-i sharif that the jama’at must recite Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam during salat. However, it is makruh tahrimi to recite Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam in salat in the Hanafi Madhhab.
It is stated in a hadith-i sharif reported by Abu Dawud that the imam said “Amin” in a loud enough tone for the people in the front row to hear it after he said “walad daalleen.” However, it is makruh to say “Amin” out loud in the Hanafi Madhhab.
It is written in Durr-ul-mukhtar, “The imam and jama’at should say ‘Amin’ quietly after Surat al-Fatiha. It is makruh for the jama’at and imam to say ‘Amin’ out loud when the imam completes Surat al-Fatiha. They should say it in a low voice.” The same ruling is written in Radd-ul mukhtar (1/492 [its translation 2/270]), Halabi al-kabir (p. 309), Halabi as-saghir (p. 233), Hindiyya (p. 258), Mizan al-kubra (p. 249), Al-Fiqh 'ala al-Madhahib al-Arba'ah (p. 250), Hidaya (p. 107), Durar ghurar (p. 127), Ni’mat-i Ýslam (p. 300 [the 80th makruh of salat]), and the ilm-i hal book of Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen (p. 159).
It is written in Mawkufat, “When the imam says ‘walad daalleen,’ both the imam and the jama’at say ‘Amin’ quietly. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif, ‘The imam says three things quietly: the ta’awwudh, the tasmiya, and Amin.’”
Ten people who were told that Hadrat Imam-i A’zam Abu Hanifa said, “When performing salat in jama’at, the followers do not recite Surat al-Fatiha and an additional sura,” came to Hadrat Imam-i A’zam Abu Hanifa and said:
“We heard that you consider the recitation of the imam sufficient and you do not permit the jama’at to perform the recitation of the Qur’an. However, there is no salat without Surat al-Fatiha. We have strong evidence proving this, so we have come here to discuss the matter in order to find out the truth.”
Hadrat Imam said:
“I am one person, but you are ten. How can I discuss the matter with all of you at once?”
“In what manner do you want to discuss it?” they asked.
“Select from among you the one who is the most knowledgeable and profound, so I will talk to him. He will speak on behalf of both himself and you,” he explained.
“It is a good suggestion,” they agreed.
“If he defeats me, all of you will be considered to have defeated me. If I defeat him, all of you will be considered to have been defeated. Is it okay? he asked.
“Yes, it is okay,” they replied.
“I have won the discussion,” he said.
“How can it be? We have not started discussing the matter yet,” they objected.
“Did you not accept that the scholar you selected would speak on behalf of all of you?” he asked.
“Yes, we accepted it,” they answered.
“I, too, accept what you accept, and I say the same thing. The imam who is followed by the other people recites the Qur’an al-karim on behalf of both himself and the followers. Is there anything about which we disagree?” he asked.
“No, there is not. The dispute has been settled,” they said.
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
“Qira’at is an obligatory element of salat, and a hadith-i sharif says, 'There is not salat without Surat al-Fatiha.' Therefore, I could not fully understand why Hanafis do not perform real recitation (recitation of each individual in jama’at) and prefer virtual recitation (the imam’s reciting and the jama’at’s being silent).
I could not find clear evidence regarding remaining silent behind the imam. Despite this, I did not recite Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam in compliance with my madhhab, for I was aware that it would be ilhad [deviating from the right path] not to practice the ruling of my madhhab.
At last, through the grace of my following my madhhab, Allahu ta’ala manifested the reality of the jama’at’s not performing recitation behind the imam in the Hanafi Madhhab. It is because the imam is performing recitation through the tongues of the jama’at, so to speak. It is like this:
The whole village will not appear before an official in order for a need of theirs is fulfilled. They elect a group of people among themselves. It would be poor manners if this group of people tries to explain the matter in chorus. They choose someone among them to be the spokesman. As they need the same thing, he expresses their needs on behalf of them.
This spokesman, whom they have elected as their representative, speaks on behalf of them. The virtual speech of this group performed by the spokesman by presenting their needs on behalf of them is better than their real speech. The same thing applies to the imam and jama’at” (Mabda wa Ma’ad).
Question: Should we recite Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam in salat?
Three pertinent hadith-i sharifs are as follows:
(A salat without Surat al-Fatiha is incomplete.) [Tirmidhi]
(When the imam is performing recitation in salat, do not perform recitation as well. Recite Surat al-Fatiha softly.) [Bayhaqi]
(There is no salat without Surat al-Fatiha.) [Bukhari, Muslim]
Shafi’i scholars, predicating the ruling on these ahadith and other proof, said that it is fard to recite Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam.
In the Maliki Madhhab, reciting it is mustahab when the imam recites quietly, but the jama’at does not recite when the imam recites loudly. Reciting Surat al-Fatiha in salat is fard in the Maliki Madhhab and wajib in the Hanafi Madhhab.
Let us have a look at the following hadith-i sharifs:
(Keep silent when performing salat behind the imam. The recitation of the imam is considered to be the recitation of the jama’at.) [Hatib]
(A person who performs one rak’at without reciting Surat al-Fatiha is never considered to have performed salat, except when he is behind the imam.) [Tirmidhi]
(What was it? Was there rivalry for the recitation of the Qur’an? One of you was reciting with me in salat.) [Tirmidhi]
The scholars of the Hanafi Madhhab, basing their inference on the previously mentioned hadith-i sharifs and other proof, stated that it was makruh to recite Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam.
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani said:
It is not permissible for us to act on hadith-i sharifs. Some hadith-i sharifs, which seemingly go against the rulings of our madhhab, cannot be proof to challenge the words of scholars. It means renouncing the madhhab and deviating from the right path for a Hanafi to recite Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam. (Maktubat, 312th Letter; Mabda’ wa Ma’ad, Chapter 31)
Hadrat Muhammad Hadimi states:
The four sources of Islam are proof and documents only for mujtahid scholars because we cannot derive rulings from Qur’anic verses and ahadith. Even if a ruling of a madhhab seems to be disagreeing with a Qur’anic verse or a hadith, it does not mean that this ruling is wrong. The Qur’anic verse/hadith in question may require a deduction through ijtihad or it (and thus its embodied ruling) may have been replaced (naskh) by a chronologically successive one or maybe it is necessary to interpret its meaning into a different thing. (Bariqa, p. 94)